clear
Monday May 30th, 2016 2:51AM

3 young pandas at Atlanta zoo are girls, not boys

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA - Surprise! Three young giant pandas born at Atlanta's zoo that were thought to be males are actually females.

Actually, it's not so surprising.

"When they're born, there's really not much external difference to note," Zoo Atlanta deputy director Dwight Lawson said, explaining why four of the five cubs born at the zoo have initially had their gender misidentified.

The zoo announced Friday that 3-year-old Po and 4-month-old twins Mei Lun and Mei Huan are females, rather than males as originally thought. Mei Lan, the first panda born at zoo Atlanta, was originally thought to be female, but was later determined to be male. Five-year-old Xi Lan is the only one whose gender was correctly identified.

Staffers from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China examined each of Zoo Atlanta's pandas shortly after their birth and announced their gender. But mistakes are common because there are virtually no external indicators. They also have only one cub at a time or, in the case of the twins, two of the same gender so officials don't have a basis for comparison.

Under a deal between China and the U.S., all giant pandas originally from China are loaned to foreign zoos. They and any cubs they produce must all return to China eventually.

Xi Lan and Po are set to leave for China at some point in the next few months. It was during a pre-shipment examination that veterinarians began to suspect that Po might actually be female.

"We said enough of this, let's do the genetic testing and confirm everybody and see where we stand," Lawson said.

The DNA testing revealed Po and the twins are female. There are no plans to change their names.

The fact that the three pandas are female is actually good news, Lawson said.

"Certainly in China, they're considered of more value for increasing the population," he said.

The entire panda population in captivity is managed genetically and demographically, and if Lun Lun, the mother of all five pandas born at Zoo Atlanta, had more boys, they would have had fewer breeding opportunities, Lawson said.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 2 years ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 2 years ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Gainesville area leads Georgia for most Memorial Day weekend BUIs
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has released statistics on boating incidents for the Memorial Day Weekend and the Gainesville area has seen the most Boating Under the Influence incidents of any major waterway in the state.
10:00PM ( 4 hours ago )
Alexander Rossi pulls off stunning upset in 100th Indy 500
Alexander Rossi outlasted his faster rivals _ and his fuel tank _ for a stunning victory Sunday in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500
5:50PM ( 9 hours ago )
Braselton hospital first in state for StormReady certification
The Braselton campus of the Northeast Georgia Medical Center has been designated with the StormReady certification from the National Weather Service.
1:30PM ( 13 hours ago )
City of Oakwood prepares for widening of Old Oakwood Road
The city of Oakwood is planning to widen a portion of Old Oakwood Road to improve traffic operations along the commercial corridor.
10:30AM ( 16 hours ago )
Two injured in Saturday wreck on Queen City Parkway
Two people were taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center Saturday afternoon following a wreck on Queen City Parkway.
10:06AM ( 16 hours ago )